CVE-2020-10189: Critical Remote Code Execution Flaw in Zoho ManageEngine Desktop Central


A severe security vulnerability, designated as CVE-2020-10189, was discovered in Zoho ManageEngine Desktop Central versions prior to 10.0.474. This vulnerability allows for remote code execution due to the deserialization of untrusted data. Understanding the nuances of this vulnerability is crucial for administrators and security professionals who rely on ManageEngine Desktop Central for managing their IT environments.

Overview of CVE-2020-10189

This vulnerability specifically impacts the FileStorage class’s getChartImage method, related to the CewolfServlet and MDMLogUploaderServlet servlets, highlighting a significant risk in the deserialization process used within the application.

Technical Details

With a CVSS score of 9.8, this vulnerability is classified as CRITICAL. The ease of exploitability is underscored by its vector components: no user interaction is required, and the attack can be launched remotely with low complexity.

The vulnerability originates from the application’s handling of serialized data, where untrusted data is deserialized without adequate safeguards. This leads to the potential execution of arbitrary code by remote attackers.

Potential Impact

#1 Attackers can execute arbitrary code on the server hosting the Desktop Central application, potentially taking full control.

#2 Access to sensitive data could be obtained through the exploitation of this vulnerability.

#3 Critical IT management services provided by Desktop Central could be disrupted, impacting business operations.

Mitigation Strategies

Zoho has released patches for this critical vulnerability, and it is imperative for users to apply these updates without delay. Administrators should ensure their installations are updated to version 10.0.474 or later, as outlined in the vendor’s advisory.

#1 Enhancing network defenses can help mitigate the impact in case of exploitation.

#2 Continuous scanning for vulnerabilities in the IT environment can help detect and address potential exploits before they are exploited.

Best Practices for Enhancing Application Security

Regular Patch Management

Ensuring that all software, especially critical IT infrastructure management tools like Desktop Central, are regularly updated is essential in defending against known vulnerabilities.

Secure Coding Practices

Developers should follow secure coding practices, especially regarding serialization and deserialization processes, to prevent similar vulnerabilities in the future.

Awareness and Training

Educating staff about the risks associated with deserialization vulnerabilities and other common exploit techniques can strengthen an organization’s human firewall.


CVE-2020-10189 is a stark reminder of the dangers posed by deserialization vulnerabilities in widely used enterprise software like Zoho ManageEngine Desktop Central. Prompt action in applying vendor-recommended patches and adhering to best security practices is essential for maintaining the integrity and security of IT environments.

For further assistance and advanced security solutions, reach out to Datacipher. Our experts are ready to help you secure your networks and provide the guidance needed to navigate complex cybersecurity challenges.

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